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Jeep Grand Cherokee 2019 review: Trailhawk

EXPERT RATING
7.9
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk comes from a long line of tough, off-road-focused SUVs. But does that make it unliveable in the urban jungle? We spend a week in one to find out.

Jeep. Sure, it's part-owned by an Italian company that also makes Alfa Romeos, but nothing says 'Merica quite like this brand, what with its roots in making little go-anywhere trucks for the US Army in World War II.

Jeep even lays claim to having created the original SUV with the Wagoneer in the early 1960s, and in a way the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is its great grandchild.

The Grand Cherokee is Jeep's biggest SUV, and of the six different types that you can get, the Trailhawk is marketed as the tougher-looking, more off-road-capable member of the family.

So, how much does the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk cost, what features does it come with and what's it like to drive? I found out when the Trailhawk came to live with my family for a week.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 2019: TRAILHAWK (4x4)
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.5L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$73,500

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

The Trailhawk is the most striking-looking of all Grand Cherokees. There's the matte-black bonnet decals to reduce glare, 18-inch off-road alloy wheels with WWII Jeep icons (take a look at the images), and recovery hooks the colour of your face when you have to be towed out of the surf after thinking it was a good idea to put your boat in there.

Ah, but even the best get bogged sometimes, it's all part of the adventure. And as a bit of assurance, there is the Trailrated badge on the side which is worn by all the most off-road-capable vehicles made by Jeep.

The Grand Cherokee is Jeep's biggest SUV. The Grand Cherokee is Jeep's biggest SUV.

Making it a bit more adept off road is the Trailhawk's 36-degree approach angle, 22-degree breakover angle and 27-degree departure angle. The posh but also off-road-capable Overland grade sits above the Trailhawk in the range, and it shares those figures as well.

As for the rest of the Trailhawk's dimensions, at 4.8m end to end and 1.9m across, it's the same length and width as the entry grade Laredo and Limited, but shorter in height at just under 1.8m.

The Trailhawk is marketed as the tougher-looking, more off-road-capable member of the family. The Trailhawk is marketed as the tougher-looking, more off-road-capable member of the family.

The cabin is plush and tough, a place where red-stitched Nappa leather seats with Trailhawk embossed badging meets big, rubbery floor mats that lay in wait for muddy shoes.

Compared to other large SUVs, many of which resemble used bars of soap in their sleekness, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is an unapologetic brick, and I find that appealing.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

OK, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk isn't cheap. A List price of $73,500 makes it $26K more than the entry grade Laredo, but you're getting more than just fancy red tow hooks and badges.

It comes with 18-inch off-road alloy wheels with WWII Jeep icons. It comes with 18-inch off-road alloy wheels with WWII Jeep icons.

There's the Nappa leather seats I mentioned above, all are heated and the front ones are also ventilated and power adjustable. There's the heated steering wheel, too, dual-zone climate control, an 8.4-inch touch screen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a nine-speaker Alpine stereo system, power tailgate, proximity key and start button, plus rear privacy glass.

The Trailhawk also comes standard with a high level of advanced safety equipment you can read more about under the Safety heading below. And then there's the 4x4 system, which you can get all excited over in the Driving and Engine sections.

 

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

Wide seats, stacks of space, a big boot, but only enough room for five people. That's this entire section in a sentence. Move onto the next section if you're in a hurry - I won't be offended.

Still here? Great, those people who just skim-read are the worst. Not you, though, you're amazing and clever because you want details and I've got them. Things such as, even at 191cm tall, I could sit behind my driving position with about 100mm of space between my knees and the seat back. Headroom back there was excellent, too.

Up front, the seats were wide and big enough to accommodate even a big buffoon like me. Nothing gets my goat more than tiny, narrow 'race-seat inspired' pews in an SUV that make me feel like I'm sitting inside a milk crate.

Even at 191cm tall, I could sit behind my driving position with about 100mm of space between my knees and the seat back. Even at 191cm tall, I could sit behind my driving position with about 100mm of space between my knees and the seat back.

The only problem with the seats is that there aren't enough of them. The Grand Cherokee is a five-seat SUV, and its lack of a third row is a bit of a weakness when compared to seven-seat off-road rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery, the Ford Everest or Toyota Fortuner.

Storage throughout the cabin is good, but not great. The door pockets are on the small side but there are two cup holders in the back and two in the front, a large centre console bin under the armrest, and a hidey-hole in front of the shifter that houses two USB ports.

The cargo capacity of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is 782 Litres. The cargo capacity of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is 782 Litres.

There are another two USB ports in the second row, along with air vents for the passengers back there, too.

There are two 12V outlets – one up front and the other in the boot.

Talking of boots, the cargo capacity of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is 782 Litres.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   9/10

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine making 184kW and 570Nm. It's a beefy beast of an engine that felt strong and responsive, and without much in the way of turbo lag.

Looking for a good SUV for towing? Well, combine 570Nm from 2000rpm with a braked towing capacity of 3500kg and you've got a damned good tow car on your hands.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine making 184kW and 570Nm. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk has a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine making 184kW and 570Nm.

The transmission is an eight-speed automatic, with drive sent to all four wheels, and with a two-speed transfer case. The Trailhawk is marketed as the off-road tough one in the Grand Cherokee clan, and so it comes Jeep's sophisticated 'Quadra Drive II' 4x4 system and a low range. 

Air suspension also means it can increase its ground clearance from 205mm to 260mm.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

A V6 is going to be thirsty, right? Well it's a diesel, so it will be more frugal than a petrol six-cylinder, but Jeep says that if you were to drive a combination of open and urban roads then you should use 7.5L/100km. A 93L tank means you could get close to 1200km. Note that's 'could', but you'd have to drive super conservatively. My own driving had the trip computer telling me it was using 11.1L/100km.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk was given the maximum rating of five stars when the updated version was introduced in 2017. While that's getting on to be two years ago now, the Trailhawk still comes with an extensive list of advanced safety equipment with AEB, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

Don't like the thought of parking a big hunk metal and holding up traffic as you try to squeeze into a spot, only to stuff it up? Well the Trailhawk has an auto parking system that works for perpendicular and the dreaded parallel parking.

What's a little disappointing is the space-saver spare under the boot floor, because any serious off-road vehicle should carry a full-sized spare. What's a little disappointing is the space-saver spare under the boot floor, because any serious off-road vehicle should carry a full-sized spare.

For child seats, you'll find two ISOFIX points and three top-tether anchor mounts across the second row.

What's a little disappointing is the space-saver spare under the boot floor, because any serious off-road vehicle should carry a full-sized spare. Yes the 265 60 R18 Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tyres front and back have Kevlar sidewalls, but if you were to take the Trailhawk off road regularly I'd be investing in a fifth and keeping it in the boot.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is made in Detroit, USA.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and if you service through Jeep you'll also have a lifetime of roadside assistance thrown in.

Servicing is capped for five years, too, and is recommended annually or every 20,000km. The first service is capped at $665, then second at $1095, then $655, $1195, and back to $665.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk arrived in Australia in 2017, and when I attended the launch Jeep had set up an off-road testing component made up of a slippery grassy hill course with a bit of mud. It wasn't the most challenging of off-road tests, but probably as difficult as most owners would ever attempt. And the Trailhawk performed well.

This time around, the Trailhawk lived a more domesticated existence. But it was no less punishing in a way, with the supermarket carparks, day-care pick-ups of my four-year-old, and the challenge of piloting a 4.8m 4x4 through the urban jungle.

Making it a bit more adept off road is the Trailhawk's 36-degree approach angle, 22-degree breakover angle and 27-degree departure angle. Making it a bit more adept off road is the Trailhawk's 36-degree approach angle, 22-degree breakover angle and 27-degree departure angle.

The Trailhawk also performed well over longer distances. I expected those all-terrain tyres to be noisy on highways, but the cabin was surprisingly quiet and the ride with its air suspension is comfortable. A fairly large turning circle of 12.2m was annoying, though, especially when navigating narrow streets.

That V6 turbo diesel is a cracker – that torque is just about always under your foot, while the grunt is delivered smoothly.

The cabin is plush and tough. The cabin is plush and tough.

The issues I'm not a fan of are traits of the Jeep Grand Cherokees Laredo, Limited and Overland as well; they all feel a bit cushy, a little sloppy in their dynamics and disconnected from the outside world.

You may like this loungeroom-on-wheels feeling, but personally I prefer a firmer more planted feel for better handling. But this isn't a hardcore sports SUV – that's a job for the the SRT and SRT Trackhawk, both of which are incredibly good performance SUVs.

Verdict

Your choice of large SUVs has never been better. There are those which are more or less people-movers, such as the Mazda CX-8, and those which are hardcore off-roaders like the Toyota Fortuner. And then somewhere in between is the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. Having only five seats is a downside, but those tough American looks, decent off-road capability and its V6 diesel grunt and great towing ability make the Trailhawk very appealing.

Would the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk make it onto your shopping list when looking for a large SUV? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$91,225
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$47,500
Highest Price
$134,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
25TH ANNIVERSARY 3.6L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $67,250 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2019 25TH ANNIVERSARY Pricing and Specs
BLACKHAWK (4x4) 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $61,500 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2019 BLACKHAWK (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Laredo (4x2) 3.6L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $47,500 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2019 Laredo (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Laredo (4x4) 3.6L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $52,500 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee 2019 Laredo (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.9
Design8
Price and features8
Practicality8
Engine & trans9
Fuel consumption7
Safety8
Ownership8
Driving7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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